I decided to write up my experiences with the game so far since most of the guides that I have seen recommend buying multi million gold Uniques and Rares to be able to farm Inferno. Being a married working adult (with a puppy) my play time is limited beyond the audience it seems the average guide is aimed at. So this is intended for those who haven't yet had a million gold in their account at the same time and want to still be able to get the benefits of farming Inferno. I am not an expert, just a long time Diablo player and passionate fan.
Full disclosure: The stats shown are buffed with War Cry (since I don't ever get into a fight without this shout active).
For those who can't see the picture here is a link: http://i.imgur.com/j9YZE.jpg
Prices paid for the gear shown:
Shoulders - Gift, a friend found while MFing together
Hat - Also a gift, but from a different friend and MF game
Amulet - 150,000
Gloves - 20,000
Chest - 175,000
Bracers - Self found
Ring 1 - Self found
Belt - 10,000
Ring 2 - 40,000
Weapon - 150,000
Pants - Self found
Shield - 23,985
Boots - 6,000
Grand total = 574,984
Skill Setup and Reasoning
- Frenzy (with Sidearm) - I am pretty sure this is the most "bang for the buck" in damage output and fury generation.
- Whirlwind (with Volcanic Eruption) - I use this skill for many things. Against white monsters it is the main killing skill for large groups. When battling Champion packs it is used to get to health globes while continuing to deal damage as well as general positioning. IMO this skill gets better and better as you get a higher Critical % since it attacks so quickly and targets so many monsters at the same time.
- Leap (with Iron Impact) - Used to start combat and generate some fury while slowing down monsters and giving you more armor for a few seconds. This is also the main escape skill for when a pack of "frozen" bombs are about to explode or to get to that health globe on the other side of the screen. This is also great for hunting down that Champion who only has a couple hit points and is trying to run away. This is also used to traverse the map faster and skip entire sections of dungeons. Probably my favorite and the most versatile skill a Barbarian can have. I try to keep the defense buff active as much as possible when fighting Champions/Rares.
- War Cry (with Impunity) - Used to start combat to generate fury and to get the armor and resistance boosts that I cannot survive without. Simply put, with better gear this skill would be better used doing more damage but I cannot afford it at this time.
- Revenge (with Provocation) - Main source of healing when fighting both white and Champion packs while providing nice bursts of damage.
- WotB (with Thrive on Chaos) - Champion/Rare killer. Without this skill I find it very difficult to kill about half the packs I encounter. This skill cuts the number of difficult packs to a handful per run and the rune choice allows it to stay active throughout the entire duration of most fights.
- Nerves of Steel (passive) - I need the armor boost in order to survive most Champion/Rare packs.
- Superstition (passive) - I need this to be able to stand in damage pools long enough to not die instantly.
- Ruthless (passive) - Critical Hits are awesome and with WW they happen a lot.
The main strategy for white mobs is to leap in and start to WW until you run out of fury and then if your shout is off cool down use that or use frenzy on your closest neighbor to gain enough fury to WW the stragglers. For Champion/Rare packs I will usually shout and leap to the closest monster and start using frenzy until I can pop WotB. Once WotB is up I will use frenzy and revenge. The exception would be when a mob pack is clumped with the Champion pack in which case I would instead use WW until the white monsters died and then go back to frenzy. I also keep an eye out for the cool down on leap and use it as soon as it becomes available to either chase down a near dead monster or just to keep the armor bonus up as much as possible. Leap is also extremely important to keep you alive when WotB runs out and the Champion pack is still alive and has Frozen or any of the affixes that form damage pools at your feet. I cannot overstate how important leap has been in keeping me alive or putting me in the right place to finish off a kill.
With the gear and skill set up shown I can blow through Act 1 and only certain, really nasty affix-combos will hurt and require careful play. Do not listen to people who say you NEED life on hit, they are wrong. Having said that, I will admit that with the gear and skill layout this character struggles with champ packs in Act 2. You do need to make sure you don't stand in pools, molten, vortex, etc. and positioning is often the difference between a narrow escape and death. In my experience the best way to get healed is to kill stuff and quickly as most stuff that can kill you (Champs/Rares) drop health globes 100% of the time. In an average run through Act 1 from the Fields of Misery to the Butcher usually results in 5 or 6 packs that are pretty challenging and will get my heart rate up. Of those packs maybe 1 or 2 require me to be near flawless and make no mistakes to avoid dying and it's usually when a Rare pack and a Champion pack overlap and I unintentionally get the attention of both packs at the same time.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Suggestions or pointers are welcome, but let's try to keep the discussion positive and constructive if possible.
Edit: I had a PM asking about what types of things I had found in Act 1 and decided it was appropriate to share in this post. I've actually been pretty lucky this weekend and have found these two pieces of jewelry (one yesterday the other today). http://i.imgur.com/0OmWb.png and http://i.imgur.com/OdjMu.png